The Good Judge

Marshall and I were chatting today about a story he had heard the radio that suggested we beg God for what we want, because eventually God will give in to our whining. He was rather appalled at this idea, and rightly noted that God is not like us. He cannot be worn down by our begging.

This got me to thinking about the parable Jesus told about the unjust judge. That parable has always been somewhat of an enigma to me.  Jesus tells the story of a widow who begs a wicked judge for justice and when he does not comply, she returns again and again until finally, he rules in her favor just to shut her up. Luke tells us that Jesus told this parable to make the point that the disciples should pray persistently. So is Jesus actually saying that He can be worn down by our begging, and if we really want something we should just keep bugging Him about it until He finally gives in? This idea goes well with the genie-in-a-bottle theology that is ever popular. But it doesn’t fit with the body of Scripture or the character of God.

A couple things I noted about this story as I attempted to explain its meaning to Marshall have led me to a deeper appreciation of it. First, the widow had a just cause. She was asking the Judge to do his job and defend her cause. She was right in what she asked. Secondly, Jesus is very careful to contrast the Judge with God. He was not saying the two were similar at all. Rather He is saying, that judge was wicked, the antithesis of God, and even as a wicked judge he eventually advocated the just cause of the widow.

In the end I am left with this: God will defend the cause of those who faithfully cry out to Him. When we know what we are praying for is in keeping with God’s Will, it is a small matter for us to remain faithful in those prayers.


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